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Cancer: Clinical Trials

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health further to the publication of the Cancer Reform Strategy, how he plans to ensure that there is an increase in the number of older people and young people included in clinical trials for cancer treatments; and how he plans to measure progress towards this objective. (187554)

We are working with the National Cancer Research Institute Clinical Studies Groups to encourage trial designs that do not include upper age limits in their inclusion criteria. We will also encourage medicines’ regulators and industry to work together to achieve the same aim for industry-sponsored trials. We are also working with the National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network to help ensure that, for trials where there are already no upper age limits to entry, older people are offered entry whenever appropriate.

The United Kingdom Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (UKCCLG) is one of the most successful clinical trials organisations in the UK. Increasingly and particularly in relation to the development of specialist clinical units commonly funded from charitable sources, entry into many studies in the UKCCLG’s portfolio has expanded to include teenagers and young adults.

We are committed to tracking progress on cancer to ensure that all the aims of the “Cancer Reform Strategy” are achieved and the National Cancer Director will deliver annual reports on progress to Ministers.